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Statin Drugs May Do More Harm than Good, according to article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

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SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

TUCSON, Ariz., June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Statins," already the most prescribed drugs in history, are being recommended for more and more patients as "primary prevention" for cardiovascular disease. Nearly 900 studies have been published on the adverse effects of these medications, and a look at their mechanism of action suggests ample reason for caution. Neurospecialist and pharmacologist Timothy M. Marshall, Ph.D., discusses the controversy in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

"Massive corporate-funded campaigns have further promoted the idea that cholesterol...is an enemy to be avoided, or at the very least, minimized at all costs," Marshall writes. In fact, "it is a vital and essential nutrient."

Several recent studies have shown that lower serum cholesterol levels are associated with a lower survival rate (increased mortality). Cholesterol is needed for proper immune system function, the synthesis of steroid hormones, and the integrity of the nervous system. The body needs adequate cholesterol levels to make vitamin D, which has anti-cancer activity and many other health-promoting functions.

Cholesterol and fats are building blocks for essential cellular structures. Additionally, they sequester organic toxins and thus serve an important neuroprotective function.

Statins have a high "number needed to treat" (NNT); many patients must be treated to demonstrate any benefit. The benefit is not correlated with cholesterol lowering, and is likely due to some other drug action, perhaps an anti-inflammatory effect. The cost in toxicity is high. Among other effects, statins deplete coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is essential for energy production. Adverse effects are greatest on systems with the highest energy requirements-brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and muscle.

While all drugs possess side-effects, "what makes statins notably problematic is that they deplete two key nutrients required for the health and vitality of every cell in the body," Marshall writes. Other, less toxic drugs or "functional nutrients" such as magnesium may provide the benefits sought from statins, without the adverse effects.

The Journal is the official, peer-reviewed publication of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to preserve private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.

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